Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 20 Number 5 May 2018
Page 2

Editorial

Put It Down!

Louis RushmoreAlarmed that a woman has written a religious article that a man might possibly read, some loving brethren have consigned us—me as an Editor and a Publisher as well as women who may write—to a devil’s hell. Often such ‘judgment’ (James 4:12) is pronounced anonymously, too. Is that “cowardly” (Revelation 21:8) as well as not “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15)?

The supposition is that an article written by a woman if read by a man is to “usurp authority over the man” (1 Timothy 2:12 KJV). “Usurp” means to “dominate.” A woman who wrote an article and who is not present were a man to pick up and read a piece of literature in which a woman’s article appears cannot possibly dominate over a man. The sister is not forcing anyone to do anything or even to read the article. Furthermore, if a man were to feel (subjective emotion) dominated by a woman whose article he was reading, he can and ought to put it down immediately! He certainly should not violate his conscience (Romans 14:23). By all means, put it down!

The New Testament does make a distinction between the religious roles of women and men. For instance, sisters in Christ must remain silent in the worship assemblies (1 Corinthians 14:34), except for their part in congregational singing (Ephesians 5:19), confessing their faults (James 5:16) and professing Christ (Romans 10:9-10). Further, Scripture forbids a woman to teach or have dominion over a man (1 Timothy 2:12). Yet, a sister in Christ may and sometimes must teach men, however, without subjecting men to her. Priscilla participated in the teaching of a preacher named Apollos (Acts 18:26), and sisters in Christ teach men—even in the assembly—when they sing (Colossians 3:16).

Outside the worship assembly where women may be members of a Bible class taught by a man, or as participants in a religious discussion where no one is subject to another in the group, a man may learn something from words spoken by a woman—without violating 1 Timothy 2:12. Likewise, 1 Timothy 2:12 is not infringed when Christian men sing songs written by women (which teach) or books and articles written by sisters in Christ. A man does not subject himself to the dominion of a woman (who usually is not even present) when he sings songs or reads literature written by women.

Yet, clearly the New Testament makes no provision for female preachers, teachers, elders, deacons, song leaders, leading prayer, Scripture reading or any other religious activity in which men are subject to a woman. Women, of course, may preach, teach, lead singing, etc. in the presence of women exclusively (e.g., Ladies’ Days, Ladies’ Bible Classes).

Anyone who is offended by reading a religious piece written by a sister in Christ certainly ought to reconsider the hymns in our songbooks before singing them. Not only are a large number of the songs that we sing written by women, but most of those women are not even our sisters in Christ—not members of the churches of Christ. Think about the ramifications of criticism and realize that often when registering one’s complaints, while pointing at others, three fingers point back to oneself (Matthew 7:3-5).


Editorial

Dealing with Discouragement

Rodney Nulph, Associate Editor

No matter who you are, what you do or do not do, or where you live, everyone, from time to time, faces bouts with discouragement. Sadly, often even spiritual people are plagued with discouragement. Discouragement drains a person’s zeal and steals the joy he or she should have. Discouragement stagnates congregations, individuals and good works. Confidence and hope are lost when discouragement is present. Discouragement arises from a multitude of circumstances. For example, if a person spends too much time viewing or listening to the news in our world, discouragement can come. If a person’s ideas or thoughts are shattered by another, discouragement is often the result. If a young person feels like no one likes him or her or that he or she is a “black sheep,” discouragement comes. Sometimes rude and condescending words from others (even from other Christians) bring about discouragement. Sadly, discouragement can come from others who are supposed to love us and to build us up instead of tear us down. Regardless of the circumstances, we all face times of discouragement. Let’s face it; when discouragement comes, life can be very difficult. While this author certainly does not have all the answers regarding discouragement, the following are a few that have helped him during difficult times. How can we better deal with discouragement?

Firstly, we must think better! While discouragement is very real, sometimes the thoughts we think are not so real. For example, sometimes our minds can “run wild” regarding another’s actions or words. Then, as we ponder, we conjure up thoughts that were never intended by the one of whom we are thinking ill. Thoughts must be controlled and checked. Remember, “…love thinketh no evil” (1 Corinthians 13:5b). One thought here is that love does not attribute evil motives to others. If another says or does something to you that is discouraging, give him or her the benefit of the doubt; maybe he or she did not intend for it to be taken that way. Thinking better of others will help us to fight discouragement. Paul affirmed the importance of thinking better, “…whatsoever things are…” (Philippians 4:8) and “renew your mind” (Romans 12:2). We can never go wrong by thinking better!

Secondly, we must pray more clearly. When was the last time you mentioned to our Heavenly Father, specifically by name, a person or situation that is especially discouraging for you? As humans, often we will talk to everybody about anybody, except God! Far too often, even in our private prayers, we pray in generalities. God knows the thoughts we have not yet thought! Be real, be genuine and tell God exactly what or who is bringing you down. Experts agree that talking is therapeutic; how much more therapeutic would talking be if the One to Whom we are talking is God Almighty? “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer…” (Philippians 4:6a). Only good can come when we pray more clearly!

Thirdly, we must work harder. Satan will use an idle mind and idle hands to bring on discouragement. As humans, we are most vulnerable to discouragement when we are wondering instead of working. What was God’s divine solution to Elijah for discouragement? “…Go return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria” (1 Kings 19:15b). Essentially, God told Elijah to get to work! God created humans to be busy and industrious. We must face each day with a purpose and a task to accomplish. By working harder, we can fight Satan’s schemes of discouragement.

What do David, Jonah, Elijah, Jeremiah, Jesus and you all have in common? Each one deals or has dealt with discouragement. Since we are all susceptible to discouragement, we must be diligent to not be overcome with it. By thinking better, praying more clearly and working harder, we can combat discouragement. We must always remember that God is near—in good days and in bad days. He promised to never forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). Praise God because, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18).


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